FireRescue Magazine at Indy

FDIC might have been a working vacation for some, but not for FireRescue Magazine.

The staff of FireRescue Magazine covered some of the many speakers and presentations offered at FDIC this year. Here is a small sample of the works from Shannon, Janelle and Cindy.

FDIC Opening Ceremonies: Dugan issues a call for firefighters to “change the world”
By Shannon Pieper, Sr. Deputy Editor

But [Mike] Dugan countered this more traditional message with a call to change. “The fire service is changing,” he said. “Some [of us] long for wooden ladders and iron men. Those days are gone, and we better be ready for the fires of today.” He encouraged FDIC attendees to be leaders, mentors, teachers—the “one-percenters” who make the fire service great, who “believe that we can and do make changes in the fire service”—and by so doing, change the world.

The opening ceremony speech by FDNY Captain Mike Dugan, a FireRescue Magazine editorial board member and Truck Company Operations contributor, was shared quickly by many when he challenged the attendees about why they were there. More than superficial reasoning, Dugan’s speech was a challenge for all to consider why they are in the fire service and to be flexible with change.

Would You Give the National Fire Service a C Grade? Better? Worse?
By Janelle Foskett, Managing Editor

Janelle attended Oklahoma Fire Department Captain Brian Arnold’s sesson “Making the Grade”, where Arnold gave the fire service a ‘C’. His bottom line for the average passing grade was our attitude towards line of duty deaths. “Although some may note that the statistics from 2009 showed a decrease to 90, Arnold argued that, “To see a serious impact, we need to see this number drop down to the 60s.” He added that the difference between 90 and 100 could be one call—a terrible call, but one call nonetheless.” Janelle noted six areas where you can grade your department. Are you passing? A ‘D’ is passing, but it’s not as good as an ‘A’.

Gustin at FDIC Keynote: We Need to Focus More on Basic Engine Ops!
By Janelle Foskett, Managing Editor

“Frustrated that firefighters are getting burned while operating charged hoselines, Gustin emphasized the need to “get water on the fire any way you can,” even if that means fighting the fire from outside. He argued that fire attacks that involve intermittently hitting the ceiling with water (aka, penciling or pulsing) only delay flashover. (According to FireRescue Editor-in-Chief Tim Sendelbach, these techniques are often taught during flashover evolutions as a method to cool the smoke, but they need to be immediately followed by getting water on the seat of the fire.) Gustin sees getting the water on the fire as the most important thing a fire department can do. “I don’t care if a department is accredited … it’s all fluff if they fail at the most basic firefighting task—stretching hoseline and operating it onto fire,” Gustin added.”

Janelle captured very impressionable points from the keynote speech delivered by Miami-Dade Captain Bill Gustin. I’ve read many Facebook and blog post about Gustin’s speech and the majority seem to miss the ‘jab’ he delivers. Much like Ray McCormack’s ‘Culture of Extinguishment’ speech, Gustin poked at reactionary measures such as bailout kits and such by calling out attention to improper initial fire attacks. “They are great and they save firefighter lives,” he emphasized, “but if we got water on the fire and spent as much time teaching firefighters how to not get into trouble, a lot of them wouldn’t have been in trouble in the first place.”

Funny, but I’ve heard something similar to that many years ago from a Bronx firefighter.

Live at FDIC: Risk Management the Volunteer Way
By Shannon Pieper, Sr. Deputy Editor

Shannon sat in on Plymouth, Minnesota Chief Richard Kline’s presentation “Fireground Risk Management for the Volunteer Fire Service.” Kline spoke about how volunteer departments have a greater challenge in dealing with risk management and the core items needed to meet those challenges. Shannon reported on Kilne’s view that volunteer culture is the reason why managing risk is so difficult. “For many volunteer chiefs, their full-time job isn’t the fire service,” Kline says. “They don’t have the time to read or learn or be educated about risk management.”

Managing the Media: Q&A with Dave Statter

By Janelle Foskett, Managing Editor

Janelle landed an interview with one of the most well known public safety bloggers, Dave Statter (left in photo in case you were wondering). Dave’s session entitled “The PIO Reporter: Telling Your Story in a World Where ‘Spin’ Doesn’t Work.” Jannelle spoke to Dave about such media issues as public interaction, dealing with scandals, aggressive reporting and connecting with fire PIOs and fire departments.

Live at FDIC: A Closer Look at How Water Is Used in Fire Suppression
By Shannon Pieper, Sr. Deputy Editor

“Water for Fire Suppression” was covered by Shannon and she was able to talk with its presenter Dr. Stefan Sardqvist. Dr. Sardqvist briefly discussed the differences between European and American fire attacks as well as the cultural hinderances we have in the states when it comes to ‘foreign’ firefighting. Dr. Sardqvist summed up one remedy very well, “The starting point in any change is asking yourself: What am I doing, why am I doing it and is it good enough? After that, you can ask if anyone out there has solved a similar problem in a good way. I would ask myself if the methods that we use and teach give the best result in terms of minimizing the damage from the fire and from the firefighting.”

Firefighting in Suburbia: Q&A with Capt. Jim Silvernail
By Cindy Devone-Pacheco, Senior Editor

Cindy cornered what I believed to be the best of the FRM interviews, speaking with Metro West Fire Protection District (Mo.) Captain Jim Silvernail. Captain Silvernail’s session “Suburban Fire Tactics,” reached out to those suburban departments trying to find a understandable mix between urban fire training and their suburban environment. “I’ve been going to FDIC for the past 10 years, and I’ve been taking all these classes about urban firefighting from great teachers, but if you look around when you’re in those classrooms, you’ll see that the guys in there are from suburban departments. The teachers for the classes are definitely the people who should be teaching on those topics, but the guys from New York shouldn’t be determining policy for the people in suburbia. So I guess my point is, don’t fall into the “urban trap” so to speak. Don’t let the urban guys dictate how you run your department. Take all your situational awareness and use it to [determine the procedures and tactics that will work for your specific environment].”

Silvernail stated that many departments fall victim to the “urban trap” when the majority of training and other issues are primarily geared towards urban departments or those who are running with more than three on the truck – or with an actual truck company at all. It was interesting to hear this come from a FDIC presenter, not as an affront to FDIC, but to see the dilemma most small departments are having when trying to adapt training to their environment. “The guys who don’t have a plan and try to do what the urban departments are doing are putting themselves in danger. They need to have their own way of doing things. Our number one concern here is safety. It’s simple: If you have a preferred operating method in place, you’ll be safer. RIT is great too, but they’re not the safety catch-all. It’s important and some departments train on it a lot, but having a RIT team on the lawn doesn’t mean you’re automatically safe.”

Negativity & Volunteers: An interview with Chief Tim Holman
By Cindy Devone-Pacheco, Senior Editor

If you have never experienced negativity in the fire service, then you aren’t in the fire service. Cindy met with German Township (OH) Chief Tim Holman for a few questions on dealing with negativity and volunteers. Chief Holman essentially reminds us that negativity is like cancer and needs to be dealt with, skillfully. “Can I fire or discipline negativity? Some people think, well, you can’t fire a volunteer. But I think the first time you respond, you’re a volunteer. After that, the community expects you do to a job, so if you’re not doing that job, then you can be fired. I must stress that the objective is to not fire someone; it’s to change their behavior. But if you can’t change someone’s behavior in, say, 6 months, they need to get out of the organization.” It is a hard balance, especially when volunteer departments struggle with recruitment and retention. Look for more on this subject at FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation and from Tiger Schmittendorf with his writings on recruitment, retention and bridging generations in the fire service.

As for me, I had an enjoyable time despite what antics you may have read about on the internet or Facebook. I was busier than last year and am looking forward to being busier at FDIC 2012.

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  • Brandon Lane says:

    🙂 I loved listening to Dugan’s keynote!

  • Janelle captured very impressionable points from the keynote speech delivered by Miami-Dade Captain Bill Gustin. I’ve read many Facebook and blog post about Gustin’s speech and the majority seem to miss the ‘jab’ he delivers. Much like Ray McCormack’s ‘Culture of Extinguishment’ speech, Gustin poked at reactionary measures such as bailout kits and such by calling out attention to improper initial fire attacks.
    I can only hope that Janelle and others in her position gain a balanced understanding of the importance of our core firefighting tool, a properly positioned and operated hoseline. I agree with Capt. Gustin and a voice from the Bronx.
    It is too bad that Capt. Silvernail’s motivation to teach Firefighting in Suburbia
    appears based upon putting New York guys in thier place.
    I can tell you that my class How to Attack a House Fire FDIC 2011 while taught by a New York guy never dictates to any thing but sound firefighting techniques.

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